[Started this post about a month ago and never got around to finishing it off, so with all my free time I’ve finally done it. Social activism stuff after the thermite. Oh, I’m not sure, but some stuff may be outdated by now… I don’t know. Let me know.]
Such a good day. School – who cares. Did a lot of nothing (biking and working out and thinking and writing) until dinner, after which my older brother and some of our friends got us some thermite and dun made big flames and sparks and steam and whatnot!
Yeah, it’s this great powder you light with magnesium and melt through stuff. Liquid iron (and other cool things) are biproducts, just to give you an idea of just how cool (err, hot – it gets above 4,000 degrees!) it is. A video by Brits who melt through a car’s engine using thermite:
Haha yes, I’m a science geek. Bill Nye is my favourite. Alrighty, moving right along to, umm, social activism/the 70’s/rock & roll – the real stuff.
JAK&JIL. Those glasses remind me of hippies, about whom we are learning (who? whom? As in, whom cares? Haha) in history. Hippies, who started and carried on and weathered out a fine tradition of a cultural revolution. Like it or not, that’s what it was: an uprising in protest of the government. …
Compared to today, where people are content with the way things are. Too content, I feel, and therefore not inspired or motivated to take action for something they believe in. The Vietnam War was the main antagonist of the time, of course, and why should the Iraq war (and all its related baggage it’s dragging along behind it through the blood-stained sand) be any different? Vietnam was to “contain communism”; Iraq is to “prevent terrorism” (although it’s obviously much, much more than that – for simplicity’s sake, I’ll stick with Terrorism Prevention. Mostly). Don’t you see the huge differences between them?
Oh, you do? Could you point them out?
Ah, sorry, that was a bit snarky. But really, it seems to me that both wars have lots of similar characteristics:
1. They could have been pretty much entirely avoided in the first place. (This is arguable, and is a huge argument, but that fact of the matter is that they could have been avoided. It may have been a blow to the US’ pride, but… there it is.)
2. They’re far away and could have been over much, much shorter than they were/are being dragged out to be. (The ‘far away’ part is actually a huge deal; if Iraq were, say, near Canada, people would be prone to pay more attention to it. However, due to the distance – an ocean and a continent – people tend to brush it off).
3. Lots of people aren’t very happy about it. (The difference: people then saw the – for lack of a better word – inhumanity/injustice/unnecessity of it and did something about it. Now… well, I’ll get to now shortly).
4. The government played a dubious role in the whole thing. (No, I’m not referring to Watergate/Nixon, I’m talking about the Gulf of Tonkin resolution – duh. No worries – I only know about it because I’ve just learnt it.)
5. They were both an overextension of American power and, some would argue, imperialism (or something along the lines of that – a show of power, etc.); again with the avoidable/blow-to-pride bit.
Those are they key points.
But the differences? It’s all in the culture, society.
In one of the documentaries I watched, one man said: “You were active. Everyone was. You couldn’t sit back and not be active; your sense of decency prevented that.” That begs the question: are we indecent, as a society, today? Have we lost so much of our morality and lost sight of traditional American values? Democratic values? Even basic human rights? Most people will be flustered by hearing this, indignant, but I beg of you to sit back and think about that. The young people of the 1970’s knew that the war was wrong, but more importantly, their sense of decency made them act upon it. They took risks to make a strong point to their government, their culture, and their society.
What exactly is different about the time of the Vietnam war (a long time) and now? What happened between the 70s and now that made society complacent, content to forget about their country’s wars and be oblivious to current events?
Now it seems that social injustice and war and stuff don’t give rise to indignation (only insult can do that now, I feel), but only seems to dredge up a wisp of emotion, a memory of some feeling of obligation, and [generally] people today aren’t prone to act on that wisp. In some people, however, the wisps turns into a stronger force, provoking them and urging them on to expand their thoughts and experiences and opinions and eventually their actions.
[Protests were not, of course, limited to merely marching around with signs and whatnot. The entire counterculture – sex, drugs, and rock n’ roll, their clothes, etc. – all lent to the cause. Some people went so far as to alter their entire lifestyle just to protest not only the war, but the entire culture – the way society was turning. They didn’t like it, so they protested. They acted on their impulses and emotions and thoughts. It seems to me that people today would be too uncomfortable by changing everything about their lives simply to make a point. It’s like we, as a whole, have lowered our levels of mental power and our wills to set things right.]
Another thing: people may say, ‘But what’s the point? It’s not like just because you protest, the war will be over.’ Maybe not immediately – which is another contributing factor, people today want immediate gratification, and they won’t wait for anything – but eventually, if enough people rise to the challenge, open their minds and thoughts and actions, we can fix this.
PS: no senseless, inane comments, please. Intelligent conversation only.
PPS: sorry, it’s a bit rough/unpolished – as I said, I started this over a month ago and just now remembered about it.